Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are two types of single-ply membranes utilized in low-slope and flat roofing systems. The two thermoplastic materials demonstrate similar physical characteristics—e.g., high strength, durability, and wind resistance.
TPO is cheaper than PVC per square foot of material. However, the amount of labor during installation is about equal for both material, if not slightly more intensive for TPO.
PVC can be easier to install due to its greater flexibility. Where some TPO installation may require more work dependent on it the seams are glued or welded.
Some manufacturer's may not follow the most recent ASTM standards because of there regular updates. The same risk is lower for established materials, such as PVC.
Whether it's TPO or PVC, it's important to find a contractor who can offer a manufacturer's product with a clear warranty policy.
TPO and PVC membranes both provide naturally reflective surfaces that reduce UV radiation penetration
TPO roofs should be more durable because they lack plasticizers. However, many PVC roofs have withstood decades of wear without failure.